Rank #1: Far Fetched Fables No. 66 Mark Teppo and A. Merc Rustad
Main Story: “The One That Got Away” by Mark Teppo
A haven for raconteurs and fabulists, the Alibi Room was a velvet-lined sanctuary where suggestion and persuasion were the watchwords and truth was such a devalued coin that it couldn’t purchase a condom from the dispenser in the men’s room. Once through the unassuming door and the voluminous coat check where racks of costumes, disguise and false uniforms waited, the patrons redrafted their pasts and invented possible futures. The promise of narrow stools at the mahogany bar, the graceful and discrete staff, the liars grouped around lacquered tables or sprawled on plush brick and the old growth timber was the fantasy. The only reality that mattered was the invented one wrapped in velvet drapery and limned with orange light.
Jul 21 2015
Rank #2: Far Fetched Fables No 2 A. A. Attanasio and Seana Graham
“Demons Hide Their Faces” by A.A. Attanasio
Winterset in Egypt beside the rotting canal at Sidi Bishr, with the little, ceramic hashish pipe in her freckled hand, a thin thread of palpitant smoke twisting in the air before her, the professor faced her student and informed him seriously and with hollow impersonality, “The most avid collectors of books are demons. But they want only the old texts. The oldest texts.”
The author of twenty-two novels and two story collections, A. A. Attanasio lives in Hawai’i and writes his fiction inside a volcano: Koko Crater, a botanical garden near his Honolulu home. Visit http://www.aaattanasio.com/ for more details.
“The Pirate’s True Love” by Seana Graham
It was a fine spring morning as the pirate sat with his true love before sailing out to sea. She was wearing a long, purple... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 29 2014
Rank #3: Far Fetched Fables No 3 Sherwood Smith and Michael Cadnum
“Commando Bats” by Sherwood Smith
When I was young, aging women were interchangeable. Ugly, slow, annoying with their unwanted opinions. It seemed impossible that I’d ever be one. The first proof that the universe has a sense of humor? I’m half of one.
Sherwood Smith began writing novels about another world when she was eight, and began sending laboriously typed novels out to publishers when she was thirteen. When nothing had sold by the time she was twenty, she figured she needed to learn something about writing, and so went to college, lived in Europe, came back to get a double BA in German and History, did graduate work in history, worked in Hollywood, got married, started a family and became a teacher. When she tried again to sell in her mid-thirties, her first project was one of those old teenage books, Wren to the Rescue, which sold to Jane Yolen Books and came out in 1990. She lives in Southern California with her family. She is an active... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 06 2014
Rank #4: FarFetchedFables No 182 Karen Traviss
“The Man Who Did Nothing” by Karen Traviss
(Originally published in The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collection.)
Hursley Rise, May 2
There was a boy – five, maybe six – sitting on half a discarded mattress by the kerb as Jeff drove down the road. At first he thought the child was trying to open a bottle of pop, but the closer he got, the better he could see that the boy was making a petrol bomb.
Jeff slowed to a crawl and then stopped. He didn't dare switch the engine off, not here. A daffodil nodded in the grass at the side of the road and the whine of a power-drill competed intermittently with music throbbing from an open window. The normality didn't reassure him; he opened the car window about six inches.
The child was trying to thread some rags into the neck of a beer bottle, pausing every so often to hold the bottle up to the light, sigh, and resume his task of working the rag into the neck of the bottle with his index finger.
For a moment Jeff thought about getting out and taking the thing from him. Then an older boy in the latest Manchester United tracksuit walked up to the kid and crouched over him, like a protective elder brother, and took the bottle gently from him. He examined the wick, pushed it further into the bottle and handed it back to the kid.
That was how you did it. Then both boys looked up at Jeff, as if moving as one.
"Antichrist! Fuckin' antichrist!" they shouted. And the bottle – unlit, mercifully – arced and crashed onto the road just short of the driver's door. Both boys ran back up the road, not looking back.
Karen Traviss is the author of a dozen New York Times bestsellers, and her critically-acclaimed Wess’har books have been finalists five times for the Campbell and Philip K. Dick awards. Her latest novels, Going Grey and Black Run, are military thrillers set in the present day. Her comics work with Batman, Gears of War, and G.I. Joe has earned her a broad range of fans, and she also writes games. A former defence correspondent, newspaper reporter, and TV journalist, she lives in Wiltshire, England. You can find information on her works at karentraviss.com.
About the Narrator:
Ron Jon is a writer, narrator, and singer. He has written and published children’s books, scripts and screenplays for animation and live action, and musical lyrics and libretti. He is a student of strange phenomena/parapsychology, horror, and children’s literature. Ron Jon writes short weird fiction under the name ‘the spectre collector’. See his disturbing videos and hear more of his work on ‘the spectre collector’ blog. Download his disturbing albums on ‘the spectre collector’ Bandcamp site. His latest recordings are 'the car in the woods' and 'the stationmaster’s cottage'.For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Oct 31 2017
Rank #5: Far Fetched Fables No. 100 Michael Moorcock
“While the Gods Laugh” by Michael Moorcock
(Originally published in Science Fantasy, October 1961.)
One night, as Elric sat moodily drinking alone in a tavern, a wingless woman of Myyrrhn came gliding out of the storm and rested her lithe body against him.
Her face was thin and frail-boned, almost as white as Elric’s own albino skin, and she wore flimsy pale-green robes which contrasted well with her dark red hair.
The tavern was ablaze with candle-flame and alive with droning argument and gusty laughter, but the words of the woman of Myyrrhn came clear and liquid, carrying over the zesty din.
“I have sought you twenty days,” she said to Elric who regarded her insolently through hooded crimson eyes and lazed in a high-backed chair, a silver wine-cup in his long-fingered right hand and his left on the pommel of his sorcerous runesword Stormbringer.
“Twenty days,” murmured the Melnibonéan softly, speaking as if to... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 29 2016
Rank #6: FarFetchedFables No 169 Michelle Ann King
(Originally published in Kaleidotrope, April 2016.)
The witch had a favourite saying: where there's life, there's magic. There was a second part -- where there's magic, there's death -- but she usually kept that to herself.
She placed the newborn into the father's arms. He gazed upon the babe with wonder, then upon his wife with concern.
"Why does she still scream?" he said. "Can't you ease her pain?"
"There is still pain because she carries twins. There is a second part of this birth to come."
The mother lifted her head from the sweat-soaked pillow and shrieked louder. The witch went back to her work.
They called the first child Heavenly Gift. She had clothes and toys and kittens awaiting her, all stamped and stitched and branded with her name. There was also further coin for the witch, to perform magical blessings for her good fortune.
Her twin, unexpected and unasked for, had none of these things. They called this girl Second Part.
"That's not going to end well," the witch said, but nobody listened.
Since she hadn't been paid for divination, she didn't try to make them.
Michelle Ann King was born in East London and now lives in Essex. Her stories have appeared in over seventy different venues, including Interzone, Strange Horizons, and Black Static. Her favourite author is Stephen King (sadly, no relation), and she also loves zombies, Las Vegas, and good Scotch whisky. Her first short story collection, Transient Tales, is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon and other online retailers.
About the Narrator:
Nikolle Doolin a voice actor and a writer of fiction, scripts, and poetry. She has performed narrations for a number of popular and award-winning podcasts, such as The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and StarShip Sofa. She also narrates classic literature in her own podcast Audio Literature Odyssey. To learn more about Nikolle, visit her website at nikolledoolin.com. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 01 2017
Rank #7: Far Fetched Fables No. 56 Daniel Quinn and Mark Morris
First Story: “The Frog King, or Iron Henry” by Daniel Quinn
What is to be remembered, I suppose I remember; everything else dissolves and vanishes: breath on an icy mirror.
I am alone now. There is no one. A rectangle of moonlight blazes on the floor like a shield—this is all that’s left of my visitor.
Nevertheless, without any real feeling of hope, I call out into the darkness: “Iron Henry?”
His departure is something I feel in my blood, now dry as dust in my veins. Beside the window, a shadow stirs in the darkness, and it is he, slipping away into the night.
“Iron Henry,” I whisper, knowing that, for all that he loves me, he will not stop for my sake: “Please.”
He hesitates and mutters, “I may not.”
“Speak to me more.”
“It will soon be dawn,” he says, “and the queen will be sighing in her bed.”
“That hardly matters, Iron Henry; what little I haven’t actually forgotten has... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 12 2015
Rank #8: Far Fetched Fables No. 58 Geoffrey A. Landis and Richard Parks
First Story: “Lazy Taekos” by Geoffrey A. Landis
Once there was a boy named Taekos who lived on a heart farm.
His parents were hardworking people: they grew new hearts for old men, and tiny hearts for babies; they grew strong hearts to plant into young men who had crashed their air-scooters and needed replacements; and they grew rugged working hearts for androids who were grown in a vat.
But Taekos didn’t want to live on the farm. He was lazy, and wanted to do something that was more fun and less like work.
One day he slung his pack over his shoulder and told his parents he was off to seek his fortune in the big city. He hitched a ride with a passing businessman driving an old-fashioned one-wheeled gyro-car, and in a few minutes he was in the big city.
Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist and a science fiction writer. As a scientist, he is researcher working at the NASA John Glenn Research Center. He works on projects related... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 26 2015
Rank #9: Far Fetched Fables No. 54 Kim Lakin-Smith and Cate Gardner
First Story: “Too Delicate for Human Form” by Cate Gardner
A trail of dead goldfish wound towards the pool where Jenny’s aunt drifted face down.
Her aunt’s silver chain, its pendant an iron key, dangled from the prongs of a leaf rake. Jenny put the chain around her neck and wondered if the fish had tried to save her aunt or themselves. The iron key dangled between her breasts, irritating her skin. Following the trail back into the house, she phoned for an ambulance. To the coroner, the fish were a suicide note. To Jenny, they were family.
Cate Gardner is a British horror and fantastical author with more than one hundred short stories published. Several of those stories appear in her collection Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits (Strange Publications 2010). She is also the author of four novellas: Theatre of Curious Acts (Hadley Rille Books, 2011, Barbed Wire Hearts (Delirium Books, 2011), In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 28 2015
Rank #10: Far Fetched Fables No 5 Brian Evenson and Charles Stross
WARNING: This week’s story, “Snowball’s Chance”, contains graphic language and a strong Scottish accent.
“An Accounting” by Brian Evenson
I have been ordered to write an honest accounting of how I became a Midwestern Jesus and the subsequent disastrous events thereby accruing, events for which I am, I am willing to admit, at least partly to blame. I know of no simpler way than to simply begin.
Brian Evenson is the author of twelve books of fiction, most recently the novel Immobility and the story collection Windeye (2012). His novel Last Days (2009) won the American Library Association’s Award for Best Horror Novel. His novel The Open Curtain was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an International Horror Guild Award. His short story collection The Wavering Knife won the IHG Award. He lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island. For more info, see http://www.brianevenson.com/.
“Snowball’s Chance” by... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
May 20 2014
Rank #11: Far Fetched Fables No 14 Rachel Pollack and Nicola Belte
First Story: “Jack Shade in the Forest of Souls – Part 1” by Rachel Pollack
Jack Shade, known in varied places and times as Journeyman Jack, or Jack Sad, or Handsome Johnny (though not any more), or Jack Summer, or Johnny Poet (though not for a long time), or even Jack Thief, was playing Old-Fashioned Poker. That was Jack’s name for it, not because the game itself was antiquated—it was Texas Hold Em, the TV game, as Jack thought of it—but because of the venue, a private hotel room, comfortable, elegant even, yet unlicensed and by private invitation only, in the age of Indian casinos no more than a few hours drive from anywhere. ….
Rachel Pollack is the author of 35 books of fiction and non-fiction, including Unquenchable Fire, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and Godmother Night, winner of the World Fantasy Award. Rachel’s books have been translated into fourteen languages, and are sold all over the world. Rachel’s most recent work is The Burning Serpent... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Jul 22 2014
Rank #12: Far Fetched Fables No. 70 John R. Fultz
Story: “Flesh of the City, Bones of the World” by John R. Fultz
The Surgeon’s hands are his most delicate instruments.
From the slim silver bones of the ten fingers to the minute arrays of gears, cogs, and springs set for agility and precision, to the pale elastic skin that stretches over the whole array, his hands are marvels of science. The rest of his body is no less amazing, no less detailed in its construction, a silver skeletal scaffold filled with organs of bronze and copper sheathed in that same supple skin without blotch or blemish.
His patients take these things for granted, ignorant of the miracles of design that sustain their existence. But he is a Surgeon and he knows the secrets of human biology as intimately as he knows the body and mind of his own wife.
While prepping for the operation, he recalls her silver skull laid bare and glimmering as she removed the demure porcelain mask that is her public face. The memory is from last... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 18 2015
Rank #13: Far Fetched Fables No. 46 Laurel Winter and Jacqueline Carey
First Story: “Infinity Syrup” by Laurel Winter
Fay was Zen shopping, something she had learned when she worked swing shift in card assembly at IBM. The effort of plugging six components into the right holes on four hundred cards had always left her too tired to think.
Too tired to think, but too wired to sleep. So she usually stopped at a twenty-four-hour grocery on her way home and let her hands do the shopping for her. Hands reaching mindlessly, plucking items off the shelves. And she was always surprised to find — when she got home and unpacked the paper bags — that she had exactly what she needed.
Odd combinations, perhaps. Who would have paired avocado and Kashi, kippered herring and strawberries? But the four basic food groups were always represented. No unappealing leftovers, tastebuds tantalized in wonderful ways.
And so, even when she worked her way from swing shift to first and from manufacturing to management, she still practiced Zen... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Mar 03 2015
Rank #14: Far Fetched Fables No 72 Dean Francis Alfar and Edward M. Erdelac
First Story: “The Kite of Stars” by Dean Francis Alfar
The night when she thought she would finally be a star, Maria Isabella du’l Cielo struggled to calm the trembling of her hands, reached over to cut the tether that tied her to the ground, and thought of that morning many years before when she’d first caught a glimpse of Lorenzo du Vicenzio ei Salvadore: tall, thick-browed and handsome, his eyes closed, oblivious to the cacophony of the accident waiting to occur around him.
Maria Isabella had just turned sixteen then, and each set of her padrinos had given her (along with the sequined brida du caballo, the dresses of rare tulle, organza, and seda, and the diadema floral du’l dama – the requisite floral circlet of young womanhood) a purse filled with coins to spend on anything she wanted. And so she’d gone past the Calle du Leones (where sleek cats of various pedigrees sometimes allowed themselves to be purchased, though if so, only until they tired of their new... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 01 2015
Rank #15: FarFetchedFables No 130 Doug C Souza and Jay Lake & Ruth Nestvold
("Tales of the Rose Knights" #8, originally published in Daily Science Fiction.)
Papagena was born on the Borderlands, between the sere landscape of the south and the orange plains to the north, a child of two homes, and when she chose to become a Rose Knight, her allegiance was to the plains as well as the desert, to the fertile land of Osverio as well as the harsher but warmer beauty of the Desertlands.
She did not wear only one color. Some said her loyalties were divided, but she was true to both, orange and yellow, fighting with an ancient heart for both armies, giving the strength of her sword arm when the orange knights went to battle and the strength of her shield when the yellow knights needed to defend Sandbridge from intruders. As with all of the Rose Knights about whom the tales are told, Papagena was her own agent, free to go where she would and fight with whom she chose, living off booty and the pay from the campaigns in which she... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 03 2016
Rank #16: Far Fetched Fables No 31 Kim Westwood and Amanda Downum
“Nightship” by Kim Westwood
Here the linen smells of mice and the men of old boots. I lie beneath a slaughter of ferals, cushioned in my guilty comforts and waiting for this black-caulked hulk to sink; but it glides like death along the briny channels of a shrouded city half-submerged – a Grey Zone, neither sea nor shore.
Past my porthole other nightships slice the mist thickening on dank canals. Blunt-nosed, barnacled, they nudge from lock to lock, deals done and deliveries made under cover of perpetual fog.
Kim Westwood developed her distinctive visual prose style while working as a theatre performer and deviser. Darkly poetic, her stories have a preoccupation with humanity’s capacity for destruction and equal instinct for survival. Most are set in an alternative reality Australia. Of this she says: ‘My imagination has a chemical reaction to living on Terra Australis, and responds strongly to its particular... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Nov 18 2014
Rank #17: FarFetchedFables No 172 Hal Duncan
(Originally published in Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy.)
“Once upon a time, the land of Shuber and Hamazi,
Many tongued Sumer, the great Land of princeship’s divine laws,
Uri, the land having all that is appropriate,
The land Martu, resting in security,
The whole universe, the people in unison,
To Enlil, in one tongue gave praise."
— Samuel N. Kramer (trans.), Enmerkar and The Lord of Aratta
Daybreak in the Underworld
A dream, astream, a babe asleep, alone by babbalong of riveron, past shimmer falls & hinter springs, we finned a wolfchild in invernal wildwoods—where?
See there? we say.
A marblous youth carved out in white & green of mirrormoon & veins of vines: a singer slain. Muses & furies dance around him in an Amazon of maize. The winged horse of his sylph sups at the water lapping, slapping, at his feet. Flowers & leaves form almost a blankout over him.
What is his name? we quiz. If we could kissper it in his ear, he might arise out of the night, into the mourning.
Away, we scoff at our others.
A way? A — wait! He is awakening.
Hal Duncan is the author of Vellum and Ink, more recently Testament, and numerous short stories, poems, essays, and even some musicals. Homophobic hate mail once dubbed him "THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!" [sic], and you can find him online at halduncan.com or at his Patreon for readings, reveling in that role.
About the Narrator:
Seth Williams is the avatar for a three-kilometer sentient starship that is parked (probably uncomfortably) close to the third planet. Surprisingly, he has not yet been discovered. He is very happy that the inhabitants have discovered enough technology to that he can communicate in this limited fashion. Any communications can be directed to theboojum.org.
For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Aug 22 2017
Rank #18: Far Fetched Fables Anniversary Episode: Joe R. Lansdale
“The Dark Down There” by Joe R. Lansdale
(Originally published in Dead Man’s Road, October 2010.)
Reverend Jebidiah Mercer smelled them before he saw them. They came out of the brush along both sides of the trail. There were four of them. One had a pistol, one a shotgun, the other two were carrying digging tools, a shovel and a pick.
His hand went swiftly inside his coat, pulled his .36 Navy Colt. Before the fellow with the shotgun could lift it, the Reverend shot him right between the eyes, spraying blood and brains out the back of his head in a mess that looked like vomited strawberries.
A pistol shot whizzed by Reverend Mercer’s head. He shifted in the saddle and fired twice, aiming low and letting the revolver buck. The first shot caught the shootist in the balls. The second shot found a spot on the center of his chest and nestled... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Apr 19 2016
Rank #19: Far Fetched Fables No 24 David Barr Kirtley and Gord Sellar
First Story: “Save Me Plz” by David Barr Kirtley
Meg hadn’t heard from Devon in four months, and she realized that she missed him. So on a whim she tossed her sword and scabbard into the back seat of her car and drove over to campus to visit him.
She’d always thought that she and Devon would be one of those couples who really did stay friends afterward. They’d been close for so long, and things hadn’t ended that badly. Actually, the whole incident seemed pretty silly to her now. Still, she’d been telling herself that the split had been for the best — with her working full-time and him still an undergrad. It was like they were in two different worlds. She’d been busy with work, and he’d always been careless about answering email, and now somehow four months had passed without a word.
David Barr Kirtley is the author of several dozen fantasy & science fiction short stories, including “Save Me Plz,” which was featured in the anthology FANTASY:... For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
Sep 30 2014
Rank #20: Far Fetched Fables No. 68 Django Wexler and Michelle Muenzler
This month’s cover art is “The Mechanic Magmin” by Kyle Anderson
Flash Fiction: “This is the Story That Devours Itself” by Michelle Muenzler
This is not a regular story. This is a hungry story, built of words with tongues of glass and cracked marbles for eyes. You think you know this story, you think you’ve heard it before… but you haven’t.
Michelle Muenzler also known at local conventions as “The Cookie Lady,” writes fiction both dark and strange to counterbalance the sweetness of her baking. Her fiction and poetry have been published in magazines such as Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres, and Electric Velocipede, and she takes immense joy in crinkling words like little foil puppets. Find her online via acast.com/privacy
Aug 04 2015